A Christmas List for a Mom with Postpartum Depression

Hello All,

Any moms out there finding the Holidays to be harder then expected? If you are one of the mothers who are experiences postpartum depression, this season can be especially hard! Not only are you feeling overwhelmed with your baby, but now the societal expectations are upon you to be happy and excited and give your family everything you possibly can. It’s hard, and girl I understand.

So it got me thinking back to the times when I was really struggling and asking myself the big question: what do I really want for Christmas? What would have make a perfect world for me in this beautiful but stressful season? Here’s a peek into my thoughts.

1. Strength

Strength to get up when you hear that next scream for milk. Strength to not yell back when he is inconsolable again. Just the strength to get out of bed when all you want to do is roll over and not move. Even just the ability to feel like you am strong would be appreciated.

2. Self-Esteem

It is no secret that your body changes after you have a baby. Maybe some women are not bothered by this. I know they say to look at each stretch mark as a gift that your body gave you to give you the baby. I never had the ability to do this. I hated everything about the way my body looked. I hated the pictures of myself. I wanted to love them, especially in this season. I really did. But all I saw is extra weight and a roll under my chin. I would have given almost anything to be comfortable in my own skin. Kind words and a cheerleader in my corner would have gone so far!

3. Sleep

It didn’t seem to matter how much I slept, I remember always feeling exhausted. I guess that was a major side effect of the depression. But even at that, I wasn’t sleeping much anyway. I woke in the early morning and couldn’t seem to go back down. Not solidly anyway. It was not strange for me to move to different rooms and beds and couches all through the night, trying to catch just a little more. I was not normally so lucky. An uninterrupted night of sleep, one or two less bottles for me to be responsible for, went a long way for making me a happier and healthier mom.

4. A Change of Perspective

This is maybe the biggest, but most important wish. I knew that this a state of mind. I knew it’s a hormonal imbalance. I knew this all logically, but it didn’t change the hopelessness that seemed to creep into my mind and heart when I didn’t want it there. I also knew that it will change someday, and I will look back on this time in a different light. Maybe I would even think these feelings are silly. (For the record, I don’t think my feelings were silly. I have learned everything is a process, and I have to trust it.) I needed the change though. I was so tired of looking at my son and feeling detached from him. I hated feeling constantly irritated, and having to focus so much energy on not snapping at my family. I was tired of being overwhelmed by everything, and scared to even answer my phone. I just didn’t want to be afraid anymore, and I don’t feel like that is too much to ask.

A Memory from Christmases Long Past

Mommas, I see you. I see you trying with everything you have. And it is OK to take it day by day, hour by hour, or even minute by minute if you have to! Don’t strive for trying to create the image of a”Perfect Holiday.” It’s not gonna be perfect anyway, so embrace and love that its going to be uniquely you. Above all, BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Get in the family pictures, even if you don’t want to. Your children will thank you as they get bigger.

If you feel like you need to talk, or you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). There is no shame in asking for help!

Happy Holidays,

Genna XOXO

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